Vincent was in Children's Hospital from March 21st thru the 28th for a Tracheotomy. This is the creation of a surgical opening through the lower neck and trachea to make breathing easier for him. He was having extreme difficulty breathing.
Vincent's surgery was performed on March 21, 2006 and lasted about 2.5 hours. It was 5 hours from when they took Vincent for his surgery before we could see him. Trach patients are kept in ICU for a minimum of 3 to 5 days, depending on how they do. Hospital policy states that we could only visit for 15 minutes at a time as well as we could not sleep in his room. This would not do for us as we are very hands on and could not stand to be away from Vincent for any length of time, much less over night. This is where fate stepped in.
When we were finally allowed to see Vincent, the reality of the decision we had made hit us straight between the eyes, a large tube protruding from his neck where a hole was created. We knew in theory what this operation was for, but until we saw little Vincent, we realized how intense an operation it was and is.
Once in his room we were told of the rules, and we asked politely if we could remain longer than rules allowed and promised we would be out of the way. We were lucky, his nurse allowed us to remain until 10:00 PM (visiting ends at 10:00pm). While this was nice, we wanted more, we actually wanted to remain in his room at all times. This is where fate came in. Earlier that day a small child was left with his grandparents to watch over, he was named Aiden and he was 11 months old. Well, this little boy got lost and by the time his grandparents found him, he was face down in the family swimming pool.
Aiden was rushed to the Hospital and was placed in the adjoining room next to Vincent. His case was so severe that it took almost all of the Hospital efforts to watch over him. He constantly needed emergency services and while all of this was going on, the nurses decided to allow us to stay with Vincent at all times, including the nights.
We heard as the parents arrived to see their little boy almost lifeless on a hospital bed. The screams and tears penetrated our souls as they could not understand how their little boy had befallen such an intense tragic event. The crisis group assembled to try and provide support for the parents (a young couple) and at the same time, try to keep their problem a private one. Were it not for the evening news, which reported the drowning, we probably wouldn't have known what had happened to this little boy.
So, here we are, able to spend all of the time we needed with Vincent because of the situation next door. We were immediately immersed into the training on how to care for Vincent. while our hearts poured out to the family next door, we were facing our own battles. The day after his surgery Vincent faced an emergency of his own. While a nurse was trying to suction his trach tube, his tube got blocked. Suddenly Vincent's stats started to fail, she screamed out for help and before long, there were at least 8 people in the room providing emergency services for my son. The idea of removing the trach tube and replacing it with another was not an option as the initial tube was sutured right to his neck. In the end, they had to pour some saline down the tube to break down the blockage. This finally allowed them to remove the blockage and within a second or two. his stats were back up.
Eventually we were moved out of Intensive Care and we remained at the hospital for a few more days. As a requiste of this operation, Dora and I had to attend a CPR class where we were instructed on how to perform CPR on a child with a Trach. Once we completed this course and were able to demonstrate that we could remove and reinsert Vincent's Trachea tube, we would be cleared to take Vincent home, which we did complete.
If you are wondering about little Aiden, unfortunately they were unable to help him as just before moving Vincent out of ICU, little Aiden finally passed on. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
The days that followed were difficult in the beginning as Vincent required a lot of suctioning. As a result of his new operation, we now needed to have additional equipment at his side al all times. This includes a Humidifier, a Portable Suction Machine, emergency spare trachea tube and a whole lot of trachea cleaning supplies.
When a child or adult receive a tracheotomy, the body will excrete a lot of mucus through the tube as it gets used to the tube in the airway. A friend of mine whose wife also received a tracheotomy told me that she describes it as a permanent tickle in the back of your throat.